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Republican governors across the country are seeing dwindling approval numbers on their response to the coronavirus crisis, according to a Gallup poll released Tuesday.

Only 53 percent of respondents now say their Republican governor "cares about the safety and health of my community," compared with 61 percent who said so in early June.


Those surveyed also questioned whether the nation's 26 GOP governors have a strategy to fight the virus.

In early June, 54 percent of respondents said Republican governors "communicated a clear plan of action." Now, only 43 percent of residents feel the same.

Partisan differences were not as exaggerated at the beginning of June, and trust in Democratic governors has remained relatively steady since then.

Some 66 percent of those polled back in early June said Democratic governors "care about my community." That number has dropped only slightly to 65 percent in the most recent poll. Fifty-seven percent of respondents also said Democratic governors were "communicating a clear plan of action," up from 58 percent in June.

Democratic Governors Association spokesperson David Turner claimed in an email this week that the numbers were reflective of Democratic governors' decision to rely "on science, facts, and public health experts to guide their decision making," rather than "what's politically expedient."

The Republican Governors Association did not respond to a request for comment.

The change in opinion comes as coronavirus cases surge in several Republican-led states, including Arizona, Florida, and Texas. Governors in those states were among the first to abandon stay-at-home orders and reopen businesses in May, against the advice of health experts.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert and a member of Donald Trump's coronavirus task force, told Congress at a May 12 hearing that a rushed reopening could lead to unnecessary "suffering and death that could be avoided."

"If some areas, cities, states or what-have-you, jump over those various [safety] checkpoints and prematurely open up without having the capability of being able to respond effectively and efficiently, my concern is that we will start to see little spikes that might turn into outbreaks," he said.

On Tuesday, the Texas Tribune reported that hospitals in the state were running out of beds, ventilators, and staff to deal with the new influx of coronavirus patients.

Florida now has more coronavirus cases than most nations around the globe. And Arizona has the highest percentage of positive test results — 27 percent — in the country.

Health experts, meanwhile, are advising people to take steps to help mitigate the growing crisis.

"If all of us would put on a face covering now for the next four to six weeks, we could drive this epidemic to the ground," Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said at a press conference on Monday.

Twenty states currently require residents to wear face masks in public.

Neither Arizona nor Florida has a statewide face mask mandate, and the mandate in Texas only applies in some counties.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.